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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

Recruiters can help businesses to answer the questions of tomorrow’s workplace

Business advice

Atanas Nikolaev avatar

Written by Atanas Nikolaev Research Manager

This article was originally written as the special feature in the May 2021 edition of Report on Jobs.


With the end of the first quarter of 2021, we have seen further evidence of the resilience of the labour market throughout the winter lockdown. After starting the year under lockdown restrictions, the government’s roadmap to open up the economy and the vaccine rollout have been a breath of fresh air for many of the businesses that were hit the hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. 

As the recovery gathers momentum, we expect business confidence in the economy to increase, and data from the REC’s latest JobsOutlook survey supports this. In the three months to March, employers expressed a greater sense of optimism in the UK’s economic outlook, with the balance of sentiment rising by 14 percentage points to net: -36. In March alone, sentiment surged to net: -8, ahead of the re-opening of shops, restaurants and leisure facilities. Furthermore, employers’ confidence about making new hires and investing in their businesses remain stable at net: +14, a notable nine percentage points higher than the final quarter of 2020. Companies have weathered the last lockdown and can see that the economy is well-positioned to bounce back in the remainder of 2021. 

The REC’s latest Jobs Recovery Tracker offered further evidence of the strength and resilience of the labour market, and the growing confidence in the economy, which are reflected in an increase in hiring activity. We saw 140,000 new job adverts being posted in the week of 5-11 April, on top of a further 181,000 in the previous week. The three best weeks for new postings since the start of the pandemic have all come since 8 March. It has been particularly positive sign to see increased demand for hospitality roles, as the industry begins to recuperate after being hit the hardest by the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.  

With more and more of population being vaccinated every day, we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. There is increasing debate about what this new normal would look like, both for companies and workers. Businesses that had to adapt rapidly to the social distancing guidelines and migrate to fully remote working are now faced with another challenge – to create an inclusive workspace in post-Covid Britain. Some, particularly in financial services, were quick in the return to the offices, while others are still waiting on guidelines from the government and restrictions to be lifted. And while there are lots of new jobs out there, people will need help accessing and transitioning into them.

With all this in mind, recruiters will prove instrumental in supporting both businesses and workers will some of the problems that will arise on the road to recovery.